The School of Chemistry and Biochemistry is dedicated to establishing, promoting, and sustaining a culture of safety. We list resources that offer guidelines for safe procedures. Please remember that the GT laboratory safety manual is an extensive and detailed resource for safe laboratory practices.

There is a preferred way to perform work with chemicals than can reduce the probability of accidents, including exposures, to a negligible level. To reduce the probability of accidents:

  • Practice the habit of accident prevention.
  • Use personal protective equipment at all times in the laboratory.
  • Use the smallest quantity of material necessary to accomplish the goal of the experiment.
  • When possible substitute a less hazardous chemical for a more hazardous one.
  • Anticipate the possible consequences of the work you do in the laboratory.

- American Chemical Society, Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratory Practice


Risk Assessment

A prepared mind is the most important safety attitude you can have.



Postings & labels can be found on the EH&S website at:

Recommended Procedures

  • It is the policy of Georgia Tech that all individuals in wet-bench laboratories, as defined herein, wear appropriate attire and personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate attire and PPE include, but are not limited to, safety glasses, goggles, face-shields, lab coats, gloves, hearing protection, and respirators, depending on site-specific conditions. The complete policy and a question-and-answer document are available at:

  • Policies, manuals, labels, templates, forms and procedure can all be downloaded from EH&S website:

Aspects of this program that are especially relevant to the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry are highlighted below.

  • The GT hazardous waste program is managed by Environmental Health and Safety. All the information and guidelines are detailed on its website:

Aspects of this program that are especially relevant to the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry are highlighted below.

What qualifies as waste? Anything you don’t want anymore and/or that has been abandoned in place.

Sinks and Drains

The following substances cannot be poured down the drain:

  • Acetone
  • Organic solvents or chemicals
  • Mercury or other heavy metals
  • Strong acids (solutions with pH < 5.5)
  • Strong bases (solutions with pH > 12.0)
  • Malodorous substances
  • Hazardous waste
  • Infectious/biological waste
  • Radioactive material


Trash Cans

The following substances cannot be disposed of in trash cans:

  • Sharps, including needles
  • Used plastic syringes
  • Broken glassware
  • Used filter paper
  • Gloves contaminated with hazardous chemicals


  Key Hazardous Waste Guidelines

  1. Set up hazardous waste containers “at or near” the point of waste generation. Do not place hazardous waste containers in sinks.
  2. Waste containers must be compatible with the waste (no acid in metal cans, etc.).
  3. Waste containers must be in secondary containment such as a drum pallet or plastic bin.
  4. Waste containers must be labeled with at least the name of the chemical(s) and approximate percentages from the time you start adding the waste.
  5. Unless you are physically standing in front of the container adding waste, the container must be capped.
  6. When a hazardous waste container is ready to be taken away, enter the date on the tag and schedule a pickup (4-6224).


  Hazardous Waste Tips

  1. Use plastic containers for the accumulation of corrosive wastes. Acids, bases, metal salts, bleach, and aqueous waste solutions should be collected in plastic containers. The use of metal containers with these waste streams results in corroded containers that leak, compromise safety, and necessitate spill response efforts. Appropriate containers are available from the safety vendors in the resources section.
  2. Don’t overstock chemicals-see what is available, order what is needed. Do not apply bulk purchasing cost-saving logic to the purchase of chemicals. Overstocking of chemicals eventually results in very expensive large-scale lab clean-outs. Evaluate current lab supplies and order the minimum amount needed.
  3. Label all chemicals to prevent the disposal of unknowns. Ensure all reagent and squeeze bottles, vials, flasks, and waste containers are labeled appropriately.
  4. Sharps such as needles must be disposed of in "sharps" containers. Appropriate containers are available from vendors such as the one listed here.
  5. Used plastic syringes, paper filters, and contaminated gloves must be disposed of in solid-waste containers. 
  6. Broken glassware must be disposed of in specific cardboard glass waste containers. These containers can be purchased from common laboratory suppliers; one example can be found here.